PORT CLINTON, Ohio — Lonz Mansion is on Middle Bass Island and was built in 1906.
It was once home to George Lonz who operated what was once one of the largest wineries in the county on the island, next to the home.
It was a popular tourist destination until a terrace collapse more than two decades ago killed one person and left dozens more hurt. The state of Ohio bought 124 acres of land on Middle Bass Island after the collapse, including the winery and mansion. The winery's facade was restored and is now an open-air plaza.
Now, Mary Mertz, the director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said the state wants to bring more visitors back to this island.
Mertz said they plan to do this through a $5 million restoration project of Lonz' former home.
“On the first floor, what we would like to do is build an opportunity for people to tour what the house would have been like during the time that George Lonz lived there,” Mertz said. “Hopefully, we will have some rooms [inside the mansion] available for people to rent and spend the night.”
She said the goal is to use $5 million dollars from the state to bring new life into this old house.
“Things are a little more expensive on the island, transporting materials here, a very short construction season,” she said. “There are challenges to working up here. We think they are exciting challenges and we can’t wait to meet them, but it’s work that makes it a little more expensive than you would find on the mainland.”
Mertz said this construction will take time and could be completed by 2025.